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Death toll in London attack rises to 5, city tries to bounce back

All roads in and around the Westminster village – including the bridge – were opened on Friday morning as life returned to normal. Meanwhile, police identified the latest victim of the attack as 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes.

world Updated: Mar 24, 2017 20:54 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
London,Khalid Masood,Scotland Yard
A man holds a Union Jack during a vigil at Trafalgar Square in London.(AFP)

There were renewed appeals for unity in a climate of Brexit-related Islamophobic hate crime after Wednesday’s attacker was identified as Khalid Masood, while Scotland Yard made two “further significant arrests” and the Westminster village returned to normal on Friday.

A 75-year-old man hit by Masood’s marauding car on Westminster Bridge died on Thursday evening and was identified as Leslie Rhodes. Two of the at least 50 people injured were described as ‘critical’ and one person had ‘life-threatening injuries’.

A series of inter-faith meetings were being held across London and elsewhere to ensure communal harmony. The Birmingham Central Mosque reported an increase in hate messages after the attack by Masood, who reportedly had links with Birmingham.

A fund-raising site quickly raised over £530,000 (the target was £250,000) for the family of police officer Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death by Masood in the precincts of Parliament.

Scotland Yard said 31 of the injured required hospital treatment. Those affected included a cross-section of ages and from at least 12 nationalities, it said, as forensic efforts were on to piece together the life and associates of Masood across the country.

All roads in and around the Westminster village – including the bridge – were opened on Friday morning as life returned to normal. London mayor Sadiq Khan and home secretary Amber Rudd participated in a large public vigil at Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening.

Khan described Masood as “evil and twisted” , and said: “The victims were people who came from all corners of our world…London is a great city, full of amazing people from all backgrounds. When Londoners face adversity we always pull together.”

The investigation into Wednesday’s terror attack that left five dead is called Operation Classific. Mark Rowley of Scotland Yard said: “Yesterday we named the dead terrorist as Khalid Masood — we stated he had a number of aliases — we now know his birth name was Adrian Russell Ajao.”

“Whilst there is no evidence of further threats you will understand our determination to find out if he either acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him.”

“To that end, in our continuing investigation and ongoing covert activity we have made two further significant arrests overnight — one in the West Midlands and one in North West,” Rowley said, adding that 2,700 items were seized from searches, including what he called “massive of amounts of computer data”.

First Published: Mar 24, 2017 19:09 IST